Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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2 Blogs that are really worth reading!

business blogging

One of the great things about business today, is that there has never been so much free marketing information at your fingertips.

Of course, as anyone with $5 a month and a copy of WordPress can now claim to be a marketing expert or social media guru, there has never been more low quality information out there either!

I have to admit that very occasionally, I find marketing information on a site that is so poor, I’m tempted to write a post warning people not to use the information they find there.  I’m not talking about sites where the blogger writes generic posts.  I am talking about sites written by ill-informed people, who offer information that is so inaccurate, anyone following it is almost certain to damage their business and lose money.

But then, I remember that those sites get very little traffic and that by naming them, they would actually get a lot more visibility and potentially harm a lot more people.  So, I focus on signposting readers to quality sites on marketing and business development instead.

2 Blogs that are worth checking out

Today’s post offers you 2 blogs, where the content is consistently high quality.  This short list is comprised exclusively of blogs that I have not already referenced on this site.  There are more great blogs listed here, though that list also contains a small number of sites, unrelated to marketing or social media.

Drum roll…

So, in no particular order:

Neville Hobson’s blog

inc.com (Link points to marketing section.)

Check them out!

I hope you take time to check those blogs out and that you find them as valuable as I believe you will!

What everyone needs to know about getting noticed

Your clients, customers and contacts have something in common.  They notice things.

They notice:

  • When you treat them like stars in order to encourage them to become a client, but then treat them like numbers once you have won their custom.
  • When you say their urgent order will be shipped on schedule, but you are a day late.
  • When you are more focused on what’s in it for you, than what’s in it for them.

They also notice:

  • When you treat them like stars in order to encourage them to become a client, but then treat them like superstars once you have won their custom.
  • When you say their urgent order will be shipped on schedule, yet you manage to get it ready a day early.
  • When you are more focused on what’s in it for them, than what’s in it for you.

Not every client complains to you when they are getting poor service.  However, they are far more likely to move their business to a competitor.

Not every client drops you a note of thanks when you are rendering exceptional service to them.  However, they are far more likely to remain a client of yours and to recommend your services to their friends.

Photo: Plinkk

How to get the ideas and answers your business needs!

This quick tip can help you get your business on track and stay there.  It’s all about how to generate the ideas and answers, which your business needs!

Ideas are one of our most valuable resources.  They allow us to make things better, no matter how bad they may be right now.  When backed up with action, our ideas become the starting point of all change.  The challenge, is to make sure that our ideas are taking us forward, so we make progress, rather than being yet another busy fool.

Ideas and direction

As a marketing and business development coach, I have noticed that people often start off on the wrong footing, when searching for ideas and answers.

For example, a business owner looking to increase sales may be thinking to herself: “How can I increase traffic into my website?”

A question like that will point her mind in the direction of answers, such as:

  • I can hire an SEO provider.
  • I can pay for traffic, via an Adwords campaign.
  • I could invest in Pay Per Click (PPC.)
  • I could promote my site on social networks.
  • The list goes on…

Those are all designed to drive traffic into her site.  The thing is, her problem is not a lack of traffic.  What she actually needed was to increase the number of sales she made.  Because she started off with a poorly directed question, the ideas she generated lacked the focus she needed.

Had she asked herself a question like: “How can I increase sales in next quarter?”, her answers would have been very different.  They may have included ideas such as:

  • I can get a professional copywriter, to increase the effectiveness of my marketing material, so I get more targeted leads.
  • I can develop a great new service, which compliments what we already provide to our customers and market it to them.
  • I can speak with Bob over at XYZ Company, about doing an endorsed relationship campaign with us.
  • I could build an introducer network.
  • I can speak with Barbara about doing a joint venture.
  • I could hold a networking event, invite all my customers and ask them to bring a friend.  If I target it right, this will give me a room full of customers and prospective customers.
  • Etc, etc.

Fuzzy focus

A common example of starting off with the wrong question, are those people we see, frantically trying to build huge numbers of followers via social and business networks.  In many cases, they seem more concerned with the numbers than with the actual reason they are networking online; which is to develop their business.  I have had people with over 100,000 followers asking me for advice on how to monetize their following.  They have no idea what to do, because they set off looking for numbers without an outcome (other than X number of followers.)  Their followings are usually totally fragmented, because they didn’t start off with a clear idea of who they wanted to connect with or why.

Outcome focused

Regular readers know that I believe one of the best pieces of business advice you can give anyone, is contained in the following 6 words:

Start with the end in mind.

When we start with the end in mind, we ensure that we begin our thought process with our focus in the right direction.  This helps us avoid wasting time on costly detours, allows our resources to be targeted correctly and helps us get the clarity we need.

Experience. Learn. Adjust. Move on.

What lessons have you learned recently and how do you plan to invest that knowledge?

Whenever I encounter a lesson, on either side of the ledger, I always look for the learning.  That way, even a bad or negative experience is of value to me.  The ability to experience, learn, adjust and move on is central to all human development.  It’s what allows us to progress.  It’s a valid and valuable part of our life journey.

Whatever your experiences have been recently, why not take some time out to examine what the learning is?  Here are a few questions, which I use when evaluating my daily experiences:

  • What can I do next time, to make things better?
  • Was this a repeat problem and if so, why is it still happening?
  • Is this happening because I need to improve my knowledge in a particular area and if so, who has the answers I need?
  • Who can I share my lesson with, so they can avoid making the same mistake?
  • If the experience was negative, how can I ensure that this doesn’t happen again?
  • If the experience was positive, how can I recreate it?

Those of us who continue to repeat the errors of the past, are destined to make little real progress.  As they say; “if you keep on doing what you have always done, you will keep on getting what you have always got.”

In short:  Evaluate. Learn. Adjust. Move on.

Photo: cayoup

The 12 habits of highly effective business owners!

Here are 12 habits of highly effective business owners.

  1. They are brave enough to risk being wrong.  In fact, unless you are prepared to get it wrong, you’re not doing it right.  The only people who never fail, are the people who lack the courage to try, (which is failure in itself.)  Failure to fail, is failure.
  2. They are approachable.  If you want people to get in touch with you, they need to feel comfortable doing so.
  3. They are willing to listen (a lot.)  The best way to ensure that your products, services and marketing messages are on target, is to FIRST listen to your marketplace.  Listen.  Learn.  Act.
  4. They are patient.  That ebook was wrong; you can’t succeed overnight.  You can, however start the process of change instantly.  It takes time to get from where you are to where you want to be, but the journey is amazing.  Embrace the journey!
  5. They value their time.  Time is your most valuable asset, yet many people surrender control of it.  Look after your time, so you have enough of it to do the things that matter each day.
  6. They are useful.
  7. They have a thick skin when it comes to business.  One of the challenges with being visible online, especially if you are not a sheep and have something to say, is that some people will disagree with you.  When (not if) they do, welcome it, take note and move on.  Don’t let the fear of what others may say, stop YOU from saying what you need to.  Critics can be useful too.
  8. They start the process of giving and receiving.  Zig Ziglar says; “If you help enough people get what they want, you can have anything you want.”  To fully understand what that means, you have to think for a while.  If you can get the message, then apply it, everything will change for you.
  9. They show up.  If you want to remain relevant to your clients, customers or community, you need to show up regularly.  Even when you are super-busy, make time to connect with people.
  10. They demonstrate leadership.  If, like many people I see online, you refer to yourself as a leader, back it up with action.  Very few of the leaders I know refer to themselves as leaders, they simply lead and let OTHERS look after the labels.  If you seldom step out of line, yet regularly follow the gurus and kiss their asses on their blogs and social media accounts, you’re not showing leadership.  You’re part of the flock.
  11. They commit to lifelong learning.  Take the classes and read the books.  To earn more, you must first become more.
  12. They are comfortable being themselves.  The only way to be seen as having unique value, is to be unique.  Don’t try and be just like someone else.  Be you.  You are a bigger deal than you might think!

Photo: Tuppus

How can I help you?

How’s business?

I am approaching the busiest period of the year for my services right now.  It’s the time where business owners return to work after their summer break, refreshed and wanting to improve their results.

Typically, I will see an increase in inquiries of around 500% or more.  One of the strategies I use, to make it possible for me to deal with all the genuine inquiries, is to write a post (like this one), which clarifies the kind of people who get the most from working with me.

Does this sound like you?

If you are a business owner, who is genuinely interested in developing your business and you’re prepared to work with me on putting the ideas we create into action, you can benefit massively from my 1 year marketing program.  I can help you attract great clients and increase your revenues and your profitability; via a whole year’s worth of unlimited access to me and my most powerful marketing and business development ideas.

Results

One of my clients this year is enjoying an increase in revenue of over 350% with an even greater increase in her profits.  She is a small business owner, in an industry where many of her counterparts are contracting or going broke.  Another client has been with me just 10 months and has already passed his sales targets for 2013.

I have also helped business owners worldwide to develop new income channels, where they attract residual income streams from the development and sale of online products.  This is an extremely attractive opportunity for those of you seeking to move away from the selling your time for money business model.  There are many, many other great examples I could give you, from great business owners all over the world, who I have the honour of working with.

Commitment

These results are not achieved through tricks or magic, but through a highly effective 1 year program.  I help my clients create compelling marketing, which delivers targeted results, based on proven, highly effective marketing strategies.  Even though I will be there for you every step of the way, to support, motivate and encourage you, it requires a commitment on your part too, to make it work.

I can provide you with the clarity, focus and direction you need.  I can show you specifically what kind of marketing you should be using and precisely how to use it.  I can help you develop a winning edge for your business, that will help you attract the kind of prospective clients you need.  If you are prepared to work with me on these ideas and strategies, then we will make a great team!

If you have that commitment, the results can be transformational for your business and also your lifestyle.  It’s not only your business that changes when your incomes increase the way many of my clients have seen.  Your entire quality of life changes too.

If you are genuinely interested in investing in your future, get in touch and let me know.  I recommend you do this as soon as you can, as places are limited and we are entering the busiest time of year for my business.

More engagement and more fun too!

How do you invest your time, when connecting with people online or publishing content?

I ask this, as over the past week, I made a few minor adjustments to the way I spend my time, which I would like to share with you.  The end result has been extremely valuable and a lot of fun too!

Over the past 7 days, I have probably connected with more people, than in any 1 week period since I started using the ‘net back in 1994.

Here’s what I have been doing

What I did, was to adjust the way I invest my time, so that rather than using it primarily to develop content for this site, I spread it more evenly across a few other activities.

So, as well as writing here, I have really enjoyed blogging for my other site; Internet Marketing Jam.   I also connected with more and more great people over on Google+.  In addition, I have been commenting on other people’s blogs a lot more too; something I love to do, but have not had time for in ages.

I will work on improving my spread of activities again next week…. and the week after.

Photo: zoutedrop

Question: Do you run a business or a job?

More of the same or something different?

We all ask ourselves that question from time to time, as we strive to improve our quality of life or get our work/life balance in closer harmony.  The thing is, it is all too easy to think we are going for something new and better, when in reality we have just repeated the same core errors.

For example, I received an email this week from a reader, who I will call Bob.  Bob explained that he had worked as a web designer for a large, New York based web design company for 4 years.  He left and set up his own web design business, because he was sick of his boss and wanted to make more money.  3 years later, he tells me he works almost twice as many hours for just 30% more income and instead of having one boss, he feels like he has dozens of bosses (his clients), who he works for, rather than with.

Many courageous people make the change from employee to business owner, yet they bring their employee mindset with them.  They often end up not running a business, but running a job!  In fact, many of the people who work with me on my mentoring program made similar mistakes to Bob, so I work with them to turn what they are doing into an effective business.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I strongly recommend you either learn how to transition what you do so that your business is working for you, or find someone like myself who already knows what you need to do and can help.

It’s both soul destroying and 100% unnecessary for you to carry on running a job, if you really want to be directing an exciting and profitable business instead.

Photo: Aaaarrrrgggghhhh

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